I don’t know about you but I am doing that thing we do at this time of year and looking at trends and progress for me and the world around me. There is a lot to think about!
But there is one thing that I am keeping a real eye on and that’s the progress of social media. There is more ‘social fatigue’ than ever – both for the authors and the users. The pressure feels ever more immense and has an ever more ‘numbing’ effect on many of us – somehow pushing us away from connection than towards it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel it’s all bad but more that I am noticing a shift. We look at the story of Twitter as an example. There is still much good stuff on the platform but it has also been the host to some of the worlds most destructive hate. Facebook is a platform that those in my circles, seem to feel less connected with somehow. Still useful for a local sell and swap or catching up with news of friends but somehow less powerful for community building for small business. Instagram often comes out top in terms of how people ‘feel’ about a platform, but again, it’s emphasis on ‘the ideal’ and ‘perfection’ is also exhausting.
My feeling is that, we need to keep an eye on the horizon and best prepare ourselves and our businesses for potential outcomes to the social media malaise. We will certainly need to continue to adapt, that’s for sure, but we may also may need to revisit the power of the email.
Email marketing had, for many years, a slightly seedy reputation of ‘shouting’ in people’s inboxes and being a less than ethical way of marketing. Certainly this Christmas has filled my trash can several times over with rubbish.
However, there is a new and better way of using the power and joy of email and that is to create a much more authentic relationship. Where social media may sometimes leave us feeling less connected to other humans, emails have the opportunity of leaving us feeling like we belong and matter.
So what are the things we can do as micro business owners to harness this good feeling and joy? For some of you, this might be a refresh and for others, you might still only use your email marketing occasionally.
Here goes with some pondering to include in your New Year notes/goal setting/planning.
Go for nice and super special.
There’s something about you and your business that is particularly special. There’s something unique – no big brand corporate feel here! How can you create a ‘feel’ around your emailing that really captures that and harnesses the good vibes? It might just be an aspect of what you do rather than your whole thing for example. Think cafe and recipe emails or maker and courses or business coach and specialist tips and ideas.
Focus on belonging.
All humans need it. How can you make your emails feel special and personal like it’s a lovely two way relationship/group/gang/community that embodies a feeling of connection? Do you call it a VIP club? Do you all have a quirky shared passion? Is it the way you write and what you generously offer (I’m not talking discount codes folks!).
Make emailing the centre of your marketing world.
Rather than being driven by the need to post all the time, how about turning that notion on its head and focussing on posting in order to invite people the place that makes them feel special? This may well have the effect of upping your posting content quality, but also have a new clear purpose about how people can become closer to you and your brand.
Think about what makes you feel special in life.
It’s always good to think about the emails you love to receive. They may be super informative, rare and special, funny & uplifting or simply delightful and always inspire you to pop the kettle on. What are the the ‘feelings’ you’re looking to evoke in your emails? If you can really focus on those, then you may well have the right magic to find joy in emails.
Don’t worry about numbers.
It’s very easy to hung up about the stats. If you only have 20 subscribers, that’s great if they are dedicated advocates of what you do! Step away from quantity here and think about quality and organic growth. It’s always always better to focus the mind to experience over raw number data!
Start a little plan.
Nothing too stretching but allow the seeds of a new plan to be sown here. There is an opportunity that micro business owners have that the big businesses don’t. You have flexibility and don’t have a warehouse of old stock to shift. You have your bills to think about, not those of 1000s of shareholders. You are closer to your customers and already know them better.